How India's 149 million new voters will make an impact : 2014 Elections Bound To Be Very Different

India’s demographic dividend may not automatically give rise to tangible economic gains at least not with immediate effect but it is likely to have a big impact on the coming Lok Sabha elections… The combination of young voters, social media and the rapid rise in the number of urban constituencies is likely to make the 2014 elections very different from previous ones… young voters constitute the majority in 26 States, including politically influential ones such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal… What is unique about the 2014 elections is the entry of what is known as the post-liberalisation brigade of 149 million new voters. Analysts say this group is different from the rest in that it hasn’t survived on scarcity of any sort… For a generation growing up in such an environment, identity politics in the name of caste or religion is an error in modern history best discarded…


2014-elections-bound-to-be-Half the 762 million electorate is aged below 35 and about 149 million would exercise their democratic right for the first time. About four of every 10 young voters are from urban India and most of them are exposed to social media sites.The combination of young voters, social media and the rapid rise in the number of urban constituencies is likely to make the 2014 elections very different from previous ones.
According to the latest Census data, of the 762 million eligible voters, 378.6 million are in the age group of 18-35. And, young voters constitute the majority in 26 States, including politically influential ones such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
The predominance of young voters isn’t new to the country. What is unique about the 2014 elections is the entry of what is known as the post-liberalisation brigade of 149 million new voters. Analysts say this group is different from the rest in that it hasn’t survived on scarcity of any sort. These youngsters have grown up with the perception that if others can get what they want, so can they. The number of professional opportunities has multiplied and, with it, the possibility of making an impact.
For a generation growing up in such an environment, identity politics in the name of caste or religion is an error in modern history best discarded.
“In a survey of voters I conducted in Bihar after the 2010 Assembly elections, I found voters aged 18-25 were less likely than older voters to accurately identify the caste identity of the candidate they voted for. This was a modest effect, but it is suggestive of a shift underway. This fits with the conventional wisdom that younger voters care less about so-called primordial loyalties,” says Milan Vaishnav, associate, South Asia programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
If primordial loyalties don’t matter, what does? Debates on the social media platform? The current state of the economy? Political uncertainty and the impact it has had on policymaking? While it is hard to read young voters’ minds, looking at what happened in the United States in the 70s, one can make an intelligent guess.
The US added about 70 million to its population between 1946 and 1964 popularly known as the ‘baby boom’ generation. Having grown up during the high of the John F Kennedy era and the low of Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, this generation began to impose itself on American polity. Studies suggest the political behaviour of this generation was shaped by the experience it had during its formative years.
“Voters vote for the party (or candidate) they believe will deliver targeted benefits to them,” says Devesh Tiwari of the University of California, San Diego.
Drawing from the US experience, one can assume the targeted benefits for the young generation are likely to include a strong economy, a responsive and transparent Government wedded to a development agenda and an end to political uncertainty, as these are the concerns they have seen the country grappling with in their formative years. The entry of such a large number of young voters wouldn’t be the only distinctive feature of the 2014 elections. An estimated 78 million active users of social media sites, most aged 25-35, have added a whole new dimension to the way elections and public debate accompanying these are conducted.
The number of social media users is expected to reach 91 million in urban India by December 2013, according to a report by Internet & Mobile Association of India and IMRB International. Recently, IMAI brought out a report that said 160 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies were likely to be highly influenced by social media. Another 67 would see medium, while 60 would record low impact.
This means social media would have some impact on the outcome of the elections in 287 Lok Sabha constituencies, according to the report. High-impact constituencies, the report said, were those that had more than 10 per cent active users of social media sites as voters. Given the sheer size of the active online community, it is hard to predict the political preference of this emerging group. But observers say the impact of social media on election outcome wouldn’t be substantial in the near future.
“I think social media will largely determine the elite discourse, the media narratives and the talk shows. I do not think it will have a material impact on the elections. Having said that, it would play a part in mobilising party workers, which would have some impact, especially in urban settings,” says Milan Vaishnav.
It would also raise awareness about candidates. Devesh Tiwari says, “I think in terms of electing honest politicians, social media can help because it helps accelerate the amount of information in the electorate. It is possible voters will use this information and vote against criminal or corrupt candidates.” Another aspect is issues related to the homogeneity of the social media space. “Don’t forget the topics discussed in the social media are picked up from the traditional media. Moreover, social media is not a homogeneous community. It, too, has divisions along caste, religion and community lines,” says Anand Pradhan, associate professor at Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
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India Among Countries Facing Severe Manpower Shortage

To understand the difficulties employers are facing in acquiring the right talent, ManpowerGroup conducted a survey with over 38,000 employers worldwide. ManpowerGroup, a US-based company that offers work force solutions, found that world over 38 per cent employers are facing difficulties filling jobs with the right candidate. The reason for not getting the right talent differs widely. Some feel that candidates do not have the technical competencies, some do not candidate with right experience, and some candidates want more pay than offered. Let’s look at the countries facing the talent crunch, especially in view of the fact that half the 762 million voters in India are aged below 35 years of age…and some of the biggest sectors contributing to the GDP include services sector (56.4 per cent), industries (26.4 per cent) and agriculture (17.2 per cent)…

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Japan Rank: 1
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 85 per cent
Japan is the third largest mobile manufacturer and has the largest electronics good industry. The country is often ranked as the most innovative country.
According to estimates, the unemployment rate in Japan is 4.6 per cent.

Brazil Rank: 2
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 68 per cent
Brazil is expected to become one of the five biggest economies in the world. Service industry is the biggest contributor to Brazil’s GDP.
The unemployment rate in Brazil is 4.6 per cent, according to estimates.

India Rank: 3
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 61 per cent
India’s unemployment rate is 3.8 per cent. Some of the biggest sectors contributing to the GDP include services sector (56.4 per cent), industries (26.4 per cent) and agriculture (17.2 per cent).

Turkey Rank: 4
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 58 per cent
Turkey’s largely free-market economy is increasingly driven by its industry and service sectors.
An aggressive privatisation program has reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication, and an emerging cadre of middle-class entrepreneurs is adding dynamism to the economy and expanding production beyond the traditional textiles and clothing sectors, according to CIA’s the World Factbook.
Estimates put Turkey’s unemployment at 8.8 per cent.

Hong Kong Rank: 5
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 57 per cent
Hong Kong is one of the leading international financial sectors in the world. Hong Kong’s service-oriented economy is characterised by low taxation, near free port trade and well established international financial market, according to Wikipedia.
The estimated unemployment rate in Hong Kong is about 3.4 per cent.

Bulgaria Rank: 6
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 54 per cent
World Bank term Bulgaria as an industrialised upper-middle-income country. Main contributors to GDP include services (63.2 per cent), industry (31.2 per cent), and Agriculture (5.6 per cent).
The country has an unemployment rate of 9.9 per cent.

Romania Rank: 7
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 54 per cent
The country is a regional leader in many fields such as IT and automobile. It’s capital city Bucharest is one of the biggest financial centres in eastern Europe.
Romania has an unemployment rate of 6.5 per cent.

New Zealand Rank: 8
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 51 per cent
New Zealand ranks third in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Some of the main industries include food processing, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, finance, and tourism.
The country has an unemployment rate of 6.6 per cent.

Israel Rank: 9
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 50 per cent
The economy of Israel is a technologically advanced market economy, including rapidly developing high-tech, agricultural, financial and service sectors, according to Wikipedia.
Some of the major industries in the country include high-technology products, metal products, and electronic and biomedical equipment. Israel’s diamond industry is world renowned and the country is one of the major centres for cutting and polishing diamonds.
Unemployment rate in Israel is about 5.6 per cent.

Singapore Rank: 10
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 47 per cent
The country has one of the lowest unemployment rates of 1.9 per cent. It ranks first in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index.
Some of the major industries include electronics, chemicals, financial services, and life sciences.

Taiwan Rank: 11
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 46 per cent
Economy of Taiwan is an indispensable partner in the Global Value Chains of Electronics Industry. Electronic components and personal computer are two areas of international strength of Taiwan’s Information Technology industry, according to Wikipedia.
Unemployment rate in Taiwan is around 4.18 per cent.

Australia Rank: 12
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 45 per cent
The Australian economy is dominated by its service sector, comprising 68 per cent of GDP. The mining sector represents 10 per cent of GDP and the “mining-related economy” represents 9 per cent of GDP.
Other than mining, some of the major industries include wine, wool, brewing and tourism.
Australia’s unemployment rate is 5.6 per cent.

Argentina Rank: 13
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 41 per cent
The unemployment rate in Argentina is about 7.2 per cent and manufacturing is the largest contributor to its GDP (around 20 per cent of the GDP).
The country has a wide range of industries including food processing and beverages; motor vehicles and auto parts; appliances and electronics; chemicals, petrochemicals, and biodiesel, and tobacco products.

Austria Rank: 14
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 41 per cent
Austria is one of the 12 richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita and has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living, according to Wikipedia.
Some of the major industries include construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, and lumber and wood processing.
The unemployment rate in Austria is about 4.4 per cent.

Costa Rica Rank: 15
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 40 per cent
The economy of Costa Rica is very stable, and depends essentially on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports.
Main industries include microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, and fertiliser.
The unemployment rate in Costa Rica is about 7.9 per cent.

Untied States Rank: 16
Percentage of employers unable to find the right talent: 39 per cent
The economy of the United States is the world’s largest single national economy.
The US also has abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity.
It has highly diversified industries including petroleum, steel, auto, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, and mining.
US unemployment rate is 7.4 per cent.

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